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Friday, May 6, 2011

GAY PRIDE: SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT GAY PRIDE?


Although Atlanta's Gay Pride isn't for another five months, there are some things that I think everyone should know about this holiday: how is started, and why it is an important and meaningful holiday.

HOW IS STARTED
In late 1960's New York, people that openly identified as homosexual were not welcome in many places.  Bars were about the only place that provided a space for these people to gather--and police raids on these gay bars were very common.  In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police without cause.

The Stonewall Inn was an establishment owned by the Mafia.  Often this bar would be the meeting place of New York's most ridiculed Gays--drag queens, hustlers, gay youth, etc.  This brutal police raid was the last straw for gays in New York.  Gays gathered in large numbers and started riots against the police and the establishment that had spent so long trying to keep them down.  These are known as the Stonewall Riots.  You could compare these riots to the Watts Riots of Los Angeles in 1965.

Two years later, on the same date as the Stonewall Riots, the first Gay Pride marches began in L.A., Chicago, and New York.  The people that died during these riots, and the people that fought back against a corrupt and violently prejudice system are why we have Gay Pride on this date.  Today, most people--including younger gays--have no idea about what these riots meant and what they started.

WHY GAY PRIDE IS IMPORTANT
If you are not clear about what we mean when we say "pride", here it is: as a people, we are proud to live in modern society as the homosexual individuals we were born.  We are proud to say that, in the face of prejudice and at the threat of physical, mental, and social harm, we stand up to affirm our beliefs as equals in this society.  As a community, a minority, and a people, gays could not remain cohesive or socially accepted by a society--that still finds it easy to ridicule and speculate of the fundamental ideas of equality that this country was founded on--without a sense of pride for what they believe in.

Aside from Gay Pride being about a proud people, this event is also there to remind everyone else that we are here...we are queer...get used to it!

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